We can be a bit repetivitive in the kitchen, stuck in a certain way of thinking. So when a recipe comes along and we get an "aha" moment realizing that we can do something we had never imagined before, it is exciting. Risotto is one of our favorite foods, but we never serve it to nonfamily guests because it needs some extended care before serving, which competes with the dinner guest care duty cycle. Baked risotto allows a disconnect between the prep and the delivery. Why didn't we think of that before? [Rhetorical question.]
So Facebook has a way of parading fascinating food along our timelines these days. This one came from an Italian chef post that shouted serious comfort food, in a way that mac and cheese says it in American. Our rendition was a serendipitous relaxation of the classic "timballo di riso" or "sformato di riso" which is supposed to retain its shape when released from its "mold". Ours slumps, still got that flowing component goin' on, i.e., is a way of delivering creamy risotto with time release built in. Or with a bit less moisture, a traditional solid cuttable rice timballo.
These days Google Chrome will translate webpages pretty well to get a first draft, but some adjustments need to be incorporated into the finished product. For the first time we see the abbreviation "q.b." = "quanto basta" which in recipe lingo is perhaps "as needed". And one English "zucchini" is a "zucchina" in Italian (feminine) and more than one are "zucchine", not zucchini. There must be a good story about this change of spelling crossing the ocean. We did not carefully prepare the execution of this recipe, so we were caught without green onions, but a leek is basically an oversized green onion, so we made the substitution. And no mozzarella either, so we put together 325 g (using digital our kitchen scale) of little cubes of left over pecorino toscano and fontina, both nice melting cheeses, and some harder gruyere (which we grated and turns somewhat stringy when melted). The bechamel sauce is a side operation, useful for helping jumpstart the melting of the central cheese layer. To make up the target weight we used gruyere, which we grated and just incorporated into the risotto mixture before assembly together with the parmigiano.
The result was rich and creamy and tasty. Worth repeating. Stiff or not.
|Italian ingredients||English equivalent||Quantity|
|450 g. riso per risotti||arborio rice, or better risotto rice||2 c (425g)|
|3 zucchine||medium zucchini||3|
|200 g. piselli (vanno bene anche surgelati)||peas, fresh or frozen||1 c|
|2 cipollotti freschi||fresh green onions, we used a leek||2 or 1|
|Brodo di verdure q.b.||vegetable broth||1 cube|
|Mezzo bicchiere di vino bianco||white wine||1/2 c|
|20 g. burro||butter||2 T|
|1 bicchiere di latte||milk||1 c|
|300 g. mozzarella||mozzarella, or melting cheeses||12 oz|
|300 ml. besciamella||bechamel sauce||1 1/2 c|
|80 g. formaggio grattugiato||parmigiano reggiano||2/3 c + 1/2 c|
|Sale e pepe q.b.||salt and freshly ground pepper||to taste|
|Olio EVO q.b.||extra virgin olive oil||2-3 T|
|Pangrattato q.b.||bread crumbs||1/3 c|